A ho gotta promote her brand.
The sentiment was posted in March 2009 to a forum on the gossip Web site LipstickAlley.com, a popular destination for NBA wives, ex-wives and the adulterous athlete's best not-so-secret friend, the ubiquitous jumpoff girl.
The alleged "ho" referred to in the aforementioned comment was Houston's own Sakara Ross, an aspiring model, actress and track star. According to her résumé, the University of Houston student has also appeared among the obligatory gaggles of gyrating T&A ornaments populating videos for rappers like Lil Wayne, David Banner, Bubba Sparxx and others. In 2008, a story about her affair with L.A. Clippers baller Ricky Davis blew up Lipstick Alley as well as other gossip sites. Davis had a girlfriend, Vanessa Ramirez, who is now his wife, but that apparently didn't stop Ross from going full-court press, and, on top of it, using his credit card to buy a $950 Herve Leger dress. Red.
When a jumpoff girl is exposed or somehow oversteps the bounds of tolerable groupie behavior, the women — and they're nearly all women — on Lipstick Alley become like sharks at the first whiff of blood, only meaner.
Before long, Ross's brief indiscretion snowballed into a tale of career whoredom spun by the Alley jackals.
Bish done ran through the whole NBA.
Her coochie is a city hot spot.
You've upped your ho-dometer. Your ho status is now at a[n] 8 out of 20.
Suddenly, Ross was accused of sleeping with other basketball players; of contracting chlamydia and/or herpes; of having an abortion; and, perhaps most egregious of all, wearing low-rent Gucci boots.
When Ross found out about the posts, she tried contacting Lipstick Alley's administrator, known on the site as "Condi." She tried contacting the administrator through the site's domain name registrant and the site's host. Her attorney ultimately sent cease and desist letters through these channels, but there was no response. In April 2009, Ross filed a defamation of character suit against the still-unknown "Condi" and a number of anonymous members of the site.
According to the suit, the malicious and systematic attacks on Ross's character damaged her business opportunities and disrupted her studies. Moreover, according to the suit, Ross's "relationship(s) with family members and members of the opposite sex have suffered because of the extensive allegations about her sexual behavior." And apparently, being continuously described as a chickenhead who values "the puss for the price of an LV bag" leads to acute dermatological and digestive maladies in certain individuals; Ross claimed to suffer insomnia, bouts of acne, upset stomach and loss of appetite from all the chatter.
Unfortunately for Ross, there can't be a trial without a served defendant. As long as Condi and the gossipmongers are anonymous, they're safe.
But in December 2009, Harris County District Court Judge Michael Gomez received a revelatory dispatch from the most unexpected of parties: the wife of the man Ross was dragged through the mud for allegedly boning. Vanessa Ramirez was Ricky Davis's girlfriend at the time, but now she was filing a damning amicus curiae brief as Mrs. Ricky Davis — a wronged woman who was nonetheless standing by her man and pointing an accusatory finger at the beguiling succubus who soiled the fragile ecosystem of jumpoff etiquette.
According to Vanessa Davis's letter, Sakara Ross, a woman who constantly tweets about how much she loves her dad and her church, may not be as innocent as her suit claims. In fact, Ross may have provided the very ammunition being used against her by posting candid messages and photos on her blog, Twitter page and MySpace (yes, MySpace) account. Like a mash-up of VH1's Basketball Wives and a Russ Meyer sexploitation epic, the letter offers an intimate glimpse into the small, combative world of athletes' wives and jumpoff girls. Enter at your own risk.
Ross is a natural self-promoter.
According to her Web site, www.sakararossonline.com, theNacogdoches native has "worked with the industry's best — providing classic southern beauty and a confident swag that helped videos reach the top of charts and magazines disappear from newsstands. Now it's time for 24-year-old Sakara Ross to take center stage and shine on her own....she always exhibited special qualities, winning beauty and undeniable talent. Track-and-field meets, beauty pageants and talent shows filled her childhood with plenty of memories and [fueled] her future fame." (Ross declined to be interviewed for this story.)
Ross is nothing if not dedicated: For a 2007 King magazine photo shoot, she posed on a Brooklyn rooftop in below-30 weather wearing nothing but a G-string and heels.
But it appears indiscretion has added a dose of infamy to her pseudo-fame: In 2008, she met Ricky Davis, a guard/forward for the L.A. Clippers. By that time, the 12-year NBA veteran had bounced around to a number of teams, including the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Charlotte Hornets and Minnesota Timberwolves. While playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003, he earned the nickname "Wrong-Rim Ricky" when, in the final seconds of a winning game against the Utah Jazz, he took an inbounds pass and astonished everyone in the arena by deliberately bricking the ball off his own team's rim in an attempt to get his tenth rebound of the game and secure a triple-double. Unfortunately for Davis, the NBA frowned on such behavior, and he was fined for committing what is technically listed by the association as the "Being a Total Dick Violation."
Ross apparently found the 6'7" Davis appealing, and the two began an affair that neither was particularly good at keeping secret.
Ross's proximity to rappers and ballers, combined with her seeming confidence online, made her the perfect target for the Lipstick Alley women, who like to wax philosophical about the racial components of the jumpoff universe. In a thread titled "The Black Jumpoff/Groupie," one member wrote "The black jumpoff has seemed to fade to the black, or the most famous jump offs are just white. Therefore the black jump offs fly under the radar. White women seem to have the jump off field on lock, especially in the NFL."
Which sounded good to at least one member, who wrote, "If the days of the Black side bitch/jumpoff are over, then praise the LAWD."
But is that so? One member suggested that "black women know how to keep their mouths shut and you will never see them on TV or writing books about their lives."
Another wrote, "I don't think there is a shortage of BW out there dick-tricking for dollars. It might be that we are reading about Becky's more."
Still another wrote, "The black bitches nowadays have completely ruined the game as we know it. They give up the ass for a trip to the mall, then they start to run their mouths about it before they even had a chance to bank some cash. They fuck d-listers so the chances of them getting hush money is slim to none."
One poster also longed for the good old days, when a ho knew how to be a ho.
"Hoes like Sakara slay me. The internet has flukked up the game for 'good' hoes, the ones that get a few coins, trips, clothes and don't head towards a keyboard to floss. I'm not condoning being a hoe and I pity the hoe that thinks she gone even attempt to invade my world, but damn, back in the day a hoe would get in and GET OUT."
With her prolific online presence, Ross practically willed herself into this environment, inviting the vultures to circle overhead. And when Vanessa Davis found out about Ross, the acrimony made perfect fodder for Lipstick Alley. Davis laid out the timeline and ensuing correspondence between her and Ross in her detailed letter to Judge Gomez:
"Sakara Ross is not a victim," Davis wrote. "She allows her life to be accessed by the public. She is suffering from the repercussions that her own actions have caused to her reputation. ...She conducts her personal life in the eyes of the public. Her personal choice to date professional athletes has created the stigma. This lawsuit for defamation has no merit."
Davis may not be the typical basketball wife, in that she is in a nursing program in her hometown of El Paso. But she's had to endure the typical slings and arrows — besides the Ross drama, she's being sued by another basketball wife, Evelyn Lozada, who accused Davis of hacking into her e-mail account, posting her nude pics online and calling her a "high-end prostitute" and "hoe-ass" on Lipstick Alley. Lozada claims in the suit, filed in a Miami court, that Davis was angry at Lozada over not being cast in the second season of Basketball Wives. (Davis made one appearance in the first season, especially memorable for the moment when a gum-chomping Lozada calls Davis a "messy bitch" and throws two cups of water in her face. Davis believes Lozada is behind the Twitter page "Horsefacenessa," which features a photo of Davis with a superimposed horse's head. Sample tweet: "I'm hungry. Going to take a walk in the meadows and eat some hay. NEEEEEIIIIGH.")
In Davis's letter to Judge Gomez, she implies that Ross was inviting, or should have reasonably expected, online scrutiny when Ross posted a MySpace photo of her wearing the red dress paid for by Ricky Davis. (The caption in that pic reads "Boy that dress fits like a glove!").
Davis writes, "I also have phone message conversations with the Plaintiff where she admits to having unprotected sex and asks my husband to pay for her doctors visit to get tested. My fiancé never responded, nor did he ever send her money....Note: I kept the phone in case this goes further."
But the most inflammatory evidence is found in the e-mails Davis included with the letter, starting with her opening salvo to Ross. (The e-mails are presented here as written, except for the words in brackets.)
"I flew to Chicago with [Ricky] to see his grandma this past week and it's funny cause I was with him when you sent a picture text. I asked him who's phone and who you were. He said he had hooked up with you but that you were just a video girl, some groupie. I said okay, let me see you text her that you have a wife since she is just this groupie...Needless to say, he threw the phone out the window and said that phone was a piece of shit! And he changed the number the next day, he has no idea I know. I thought, wow, my [man] will do whatever it takes to make a lie sound so good..."
Davis also wrote that she was not behind any of the nasty Lipstick Alley talk about Ross because, after nearly ten years of dating a pro athlete, she had long since quit the role of jealous/possessive girlfriend.
"Yes, I admit I used to chase down hoes, call them names, swear at them, be Rickys cheerleader, and try to proclaim my role," she wrote. "I let that shit go two years ago when I realized that no matter if I did all that shit, these chicken head ass bitches were going to fuck my man regardless and worst part is I think me calling them made them want him more. I gave it to God, all my troubles. I let him deal with Ricky....I knew about you the day after he flew home from his last road trip and you were still logged into myspace on his computer. I could of wrote you then, but I really don't care who fucks him at this point."
Ross replied by acknowledging the burden of the beautiful: "I realized awhile ago that my beauty has not only been a blessing, but also a curse at times because it seems as though people always wanna find something negative to say about me in order to make their selves feel better." She also clarified that "I don't do married men."
Then Ross really lets it rip: "...I wanna make sure that you weren't trying to indiscretly talk shit about me and call me a groupie or chickenhead, because you should know just how I do that females now days are crazy and all it takes is coming at the wrong bitch the wrong way and on the [wrong] day, which just might be on a day when you might feel a little extra confident and she'd take it out of context and then that would definitely start a lot of DRAMA."
Moreover, Ross wrote, "sweetheart, I don't want your man because all of the benefits, etc., don't' outway this early on drama...I'm an attractive, single and educated young lady who doesn't owe anyone anything. I'm so over this b.s. and because I'm a real bitch I'm just gonna tell you that if you Really feel the need to say anything more, then you can call me."
Which prompted Davis to shoot out her claws, Wolverine-style.
"You're e-mail is a crock of shit!....You are the Nba jumpoff which whom many of nba players claim that pussy of yours. I may be the bitch who is 'crazy and stalker,' but at least my name has one dick label....You are a known HOE....You have no idea what these niggas say about you, do you?....There are tons of single, beautiful bitches, but the difference between you and the rest is that its hard to find a beautiful bitch who hasn't talked to half the nba...:)"
Then, after a cordial "Peace Bitch," Davis busted out the all-caps for a scorched-earth postscript.
"ME AND THESE OTHER WIVES ARE JUST SHAKING OUR HEADS WATCHING YOU CRASH INTO WALLS LIKE IT'S THE NEW COOL THING TO DO. MOST NBA NIGGAS ARE TAKEN, READ THERE BIOS BABY. ITS NOT HARD TO DO. BUT, APPARENTLY YOU DON'T REALLY CARE ABOUT IF THEY MARRIED SO LONG AS THEY ARE BUYING YOU BENZES AND SHIT RIGHT..."
Davis explained in the letter to Judge Gomez that she "tried numerous times" to reach Ross's attorney, Shanna Hennigan, but that Hennigan "ignored my voicemails." (The Houston Press was only able to reach Hennigan by phone once; she said she would pass along an interview request to Ross. Hennigan, whose Texas State Bar profile indicates she is working under a probated suspension until January 2011, did not respond to subsequent e-mails, and her voice mail remained full and unable to accept messages.) But knowing how nasty the gossip can get, why would Davis willingly attach her name to a lawsuit she's not even a party to? Wasn't she worried about the inevitable chatter on Lipstick Alley and other sites?
A few years ago, when she first became aware of the wife/jumpoff dynamic being played out online, Davis tells the Press, she used to worry. And she admits to jumping into the fray with what she describes as immature e-mails. When friends first told her that she was being picked apart on Lipstick Alley, she had to see for herself.
"At that point, literally I was oblivious to the...cyber-world realm of stupidity that, you know, goes along with it," she says. "So I'm reading this, and I'm pissed, so I go and I start, you know, ranting and raving...And I'm fighting for myself. And after I press the 'Send' button, I go back to where the other wives are, and I'm, you know, talking amongst them, and I'm like, 'Go see what I wrote.' And [the] expression on her face was like, 'What? What do you mean? You wrote something?'"
But today, Davis says, she feels differently.
"If you are worried about [what] the world thinks of you, you need to do some serious evaluation on who you are," she says. "...You can't possibly wake up to think or to feel or to worry about what other people think of you. Then you're living for the wrong reasons."
Moreover, she says, "I like their Web site. I think it's funny...For its purpose, which is entertainment, I think it's an awesome Web site. I think that, you know, people just take it too seriously."
As expected, Davis's letter to the judge wound up on Lipstick Alley, giving more chum to the sharks. Some members applauded Davis for directly confronting her husband's side-ho; some called Davis pathetic and insecure for even going through the trouble; a few rushed to Ross's defense and accused all her haters of being jealous. The ones who really stuck out were the rare members who questioned why Davis seemed more upset at Ross than at her cheating fiancé.
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"The winner in this situation is the guy involved because he's sitting back watching two females go at it in honor of his name," a member named Ms. Devine wrote. "Men always win in these types of situations, that's why I shake my head at stuff like this."
Lipstick Alley's administrator, the elusive "Condi," didn't reply to interview requests. perhaps because she values her privacy and would hate to have potentially critical matter printed about her. Her site is not only listed in Ross's lawsuit, but figures in a lawsuit filed by Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard against his baby mama, who is accused of posting disparaging comments about him on Lipstick Alley. Attorneys in that case are trying to find "Condi" as well.
Meanwhile, as her suit languishes in Harris County District Court, Ross appears to have moved on, tweeting positively about Dad, church, friends, trips to the spa and a boyfriend whom some have identified as a player for the Philadelphia Eagles. She seems to be in good spirits, concerned more with acting, modeling and track; nothing about the Lipstick Alley suit appears on her Twitter. A recent tweet draws from Lil Wayne, whose video helped bring her into Ballerland: "Steppin out the motherfuckin car they in awe, I'm lookin like a star bitch, when you see me make a wish....